the madrigal, volume i
helen jenks and tomás clancy
by helen jenks
Seek out, children, the curious moss-mouth
clearings of the earth, deep within the withered bracken
and writhing oaken roots. These are ancient
roads, little ones, that have been stalked by things
far more powerful than you –– the Horned God and
his wild things still watch you run and play
from primeval corners of our wood.
Oh, but you are brave, I know, and will let
the slumbering earth-mother nourish your bones;
scraped hands and bruised knees seep like dew
into the hungry soil. The dryads will drink,
it is all the same to them.
“Come back inside!”
and let me mend your muddy clothes,
darning holes in tiny socks and listening to
your patchwork, lilting stories of what is now memory––
baleful, verdant roads that groaned out their secrets
on the precipice of inescapable adolescence.
One day, I shall wither, sweet ones, and you must
bring my body back to the wild grove of oak and avalon,
where the lake shall meet the glass-strewn sea––
let me sink beneath the waves, and join
those wild, ancient things that hunt and roam, eternal
till these paths we walk again.
Brecheliant, or Brocéliande, was an ancient enchanted forest that serves as a place of mystery, magic, and myth throughout many early Medieval texts, most notably in a variety of Arthurian legends. It is commonly believed to be the place where the wizard Merlin was both buried and imprisoned, and has been physically identified as the Paimpont Forest in Brittany, France.